Palantir: Fear Is Good. Fear Sells.

June 18, 2024

President Eisenhower may not have foreseen AI when he famously warned of the military-industrial complex, but certain software firms certainly fit the bill. One of the most successful, Palantir, is pursuing Madison Avenue type marketing with a message of alarm. The company’s co-founder, Alex Karp, is quoted in the fear-mongering post at right-wing Blaze Media, “U.S. Prepares for War Amid Growing Tensions that China Could Invade Taiwan.”

After several paragraphs of panic over tensions between China and Taiwan, writer Collin Jones briefly admits “It is uncertain if and when the Chinese president will deploy an attack against the small country.” He quickly pivots to the scary AI arms race, intimating Palantir and company can save us as long as we let (fund) them. The post concludes:

“Palantir’s CEO and co-founder Alex Karp said: ‘The way to prevent a war with China is to ramp up not just Palantir, but defense tech startups that produce software-defining weapons systems that scare the living F out of our adversaries.’ Karp noted that the U.S. must stay ahead of its military opponents in the realm of AI. ‘Our adversaries have a long tradition of being not interested in the rule of law, not interested in fairness, not interested in human rights and on the battlefield. It really is going to be us or them.’ Karp noted that the U.S. must stay ahead of its military opponents in the realm of AI. You do not want a world order where our adversaries try to define new norms. It would be very bad for the world, and it would be especially bad for America,’ Karp concluded.”

Wow. But do such scare tactics work? Of course they do. For instance, we learn from DefenseScoop, “Palantir Lands $480M Army Contract for Maven Artificial Intelligence Tech.” That article reports on not one but two Palantir deals: the titular Maven expansion and, we learn:

“The company was recently awarded another AI-related deal by the Army for the next phase of the service’s Tactical Intelligence Targeting Access Node (TITAN) ground station program, which aims to provide soldiers with next-generation data fusion and deep-sensing capabilities via artificial intelligence and other tools. That other transaction agreement was worth $178 million.”

Those are just two recent examples of Palantir’s lucrative government contracts, ones that have not, as of this writing, been added this running tally. It seems the firm has found its winning strategy. Ramping up tensions between world powers is a small price to pay for significant corporate profits, apparently.

Cynthia Murrell, June 18, 2024


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